Darren Kirby, Managing Director of Technique Media, states that while brands have spent the last decade investing heavily in understanding Millennials, a few years back the buzz word ‘Afrilennial’ sent shivers down the spine of every brand strategist working within an African context.
In theory, it made sense: why would Africans be the same and think the same as the rest of the world? Our unique challenges and landscape coupled with emerging markets means that the rule-book, to a large degree, is thrown out the window.
Then in 2018, global thought leaders and research institutes suggested a new dynamic – one that may indicate we have been barking up the wrong tree in many regards: affordability. While brands have been trying to figure out a way to repackage and reposition premium brands to appeal to the now 35-year-old and younger Millennial consumer, it turns out that Millennials love premium brands. They just can’t afford them.
In an age of post-demographic consumerism whereby brands see themselves grappling with shrinking market share, is Africa rising to the challenges ahead? One sector experiencing complications, as a result, is the alcohol industry.
A team at University College London recently released a research paper indicating that one third of Millennials sampled do not drink alcohol. Is this because Millennials are generally healthier, and brands need to release a range of healthier alternatives to maintain market share? Or is it because Millennials just can’t afford to drink alcohol? Research suggests the latter. In which case, never mind the new range of healthier alternatives, and do we view this as the new normal?
Luckily for all of us Africans, our continent is home to, dare we say, the majority of the most creative minds in the world. South African advertising agencies (as a matter of fact, all brand disciplines) have been recognised on the global stage for their outstanding contributions to the branding landscape for many years. And let’s face it, we are the only ones that have a licence to laugh at ourselves and the little quirks that make us African!
So, with all these dynamics, what is the key to success for the year ahead? Stick to the creativity. In a climate so diverse and with so many cultures making up one audience or target market, the one attribute that always cuts through the noise and clutter is creativity.
We take pride in the fact that at Technique Media, we thoroughly understand all signage mediums and, to this end, are able to sit around the table and conceptualise creative solutions that stand up against multiple outputs and touchpoints. And we’ve established an excellent track-record across the continent as this year saw our work produced as far as Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon.
So, while the country’s top brand strategists may agree that sticking with creativity is the most authentic way to reach an African consumer, it remains undisputed that one of the primary keys to success is to partner with service providers that can navigate this tricky terrain and provide affordable solutions. Partners that can find the solutions required in an environment where the execution needs an additional layer of consultation or problem-solving.